By Rhys Edwards Earlier this year IBM announced Watson Ads, a cognitive ad unit that enables brands to conduct conversations with consum...

The Interplay between Artificial Intelligence and Advertising

By Rhys Edwards

Earlier this year IBM announced Watson Ads, a cognitive ad unit that enables brands to conduct conversations with consumers via text or voice. The platform leverages natural language processing and reasoning ability with a sprinkle of machine learning – allowing Watson to grow more powerful each day. Similarly, the launch of Amazon’s Echo lineup is positioned to disrupt how people access information such as weather, news, and recipes, providing a ripe opportunity for brands to jump on the AI bandwagon to communicate with consumers on at an intimate, one-on-one level.

In a statement from Theresea Agnew, CMO for GSK Consumer Healthcare, “Cognition humanises the use of data as we move from intent-based advertising to actual one-to-one interacting.” It’s interesting that the rise of artificial intelligence and the infinite opportunities it presents has arrived at a time where brands are, once again, warming to the notion of ‘debranding’ – take MasterCard, for example, who unveiled their new logo earlier this year; retaining it’s overlapping red and yellow symbol whilst moving the text below the balls.

Adam Alter, an associate professor of marketing at New York University’s Stern School of Business recently said, “Consumers are jaded about advertising in a way they weren’t several decades ago”, so it makes sense for brands to become less corporate and more human.

It’s not the first time this has happened, but it is the first time artificial intelligence has had a part to play. We’re faced with an opportunity for technology to provide a near-human, one to one experience between brand and consumer, meaning that the days of content-first creative are behind us. But audience-first creative presents an exciting problem to solve.

You see, measuring real world impact of audience-first creative is difficult, which is probably not what clients want to hear. But with the combination of both emotion recognition software and cameras that determine age and gender; as artificial intelligence progresses we’ll have more than enough data to produce and consequently analyse pieces of creative that are entirely bespoke. Recent reports have said that industry is expected to reach USD 5.05bn by 2020, so it’s only a matter of time until we’re inundated by AI Ad Tech startups pitching for a slice of the advertising pie.

But the future is bright. Across digital mediums we’ll be able to leverage CRM data to track the success of everything we do, generating the perfect layouts, the perfect images, and the perfect copy to accompany everything we do – meeting our audiences with what they want to see, when they need to see it.

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